So I’ve been researching music for a project and thought about how long it had been since I iPrep’ed for a scene and then I realized how dumb and trivial I found iPrep’ing back in the days. I mean I love music, but I basically need silence to write and that’s mainly what I do so it means no music… mainly. (Wow, the over usage of the word “mainly” has caused a *Brain Freeze*, worse than the one you get from a very cold Slurpee). That’s how I use to describe iPrep’ing: an easy fix like drinking a Slurpee to trigger your memory to lightly shock those neurons to form productive synapses to carry you through the moment.
Today however I have realized that I do iPrep without realizing it. *Brain freeze*. See as an actor you quite often use triggers before jumping in front of the camera or dashing out on stage to get you where you need to be emotionally for a scene. A very potent trigger for many tends to be music. When you need, (well, when we needed), to quickly cheat your (well, our) way into the character’s shoes and be “in the moment”, the handy iPod would always come to the rescue. While I was attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts you would see a number of students, all aspiring actors, sitting in some corner, on the stairs or lying in the way, listening to music on an iPod, with their eyes closed on any given hour on any given day. *Brain Freeze*. The numbers would go up substantially by the end of a semester. That meant everyone had a scene or two to present in their respective classes. Needless to say it was tough walking around, you had to be cautious not to step on anyone and you had to be quiet. This act of “preparation” which almost always included the act of listening to an iPod (yes, with your eyes closed) was very quickly named iPrep and like many nouns in English received its own verb: to iPrep. “He iPrep’ed really well yesterday, he nailed that scene” or “Sorry I can’t right now, I’m iPrep’ing” or even when some stranger came to visit the campus “Oh don’t mind them, they are iPrep’ing for their class”. *Brain Freeze*.
If you didn’t have an iPod, then you weren’t iPrep’ing. You were just taking time to get into the moment. Which is what I do nowadays as a writer. I take time for the characters to jump around in my head and warm up (unlike acting school, I do not make them throw a tantrum), then I let them set themselves up and improvise. Like an actor, they know who they are, want they want, what’s stopping them from getting it and how they can overcome the obstacle. This is all done in silence, but I have realized that when I get stuck, iPrep’ing can be a very useful tool and I do allow myself (and the characters) to listen to music that has already been incorporated into the research material somehow. *Major Brain Freeze*.
I know, I know. I admit it. I do iPrep for a scene sometimes. Well, a tool is a toll. What I thought was silly and an easy cheat in school, has actually proven to help my writing brain take a few steps back and start again. (Slurpee is finished *phew* ). Also if you’ve never taken an acting class, do. It might be an added tool to your writing toolbox. No matter how silly an acting class may seem, it might be healthier than drinking a Slurpee.